In September of 1969, Walter Zulak, along with several alumni of St. Vladimir’s College (Minor Seminary) in Roblin, Manitoba, organized a male choir, appropriately named the St. Vladimir’s College Alumni Choir. It was during their time at the College, under the direction of distinguished scholar of Ukrainian liturgical and choral music, musicologist Dr. Paul Macenko, that their passion for choral music was born. Inspired by Dr. Macenko’s instruction, they set out to create a group that would encourage, promote, and preserve their Ukrainian heritage.
Their original performing venues were the various Ukrainian Catholic Parishes in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, where they were best known for singing of the Divine Liturgy, social events, and concerts. In May of 1973, having performed widely in Manitoba, as well as in Saskatoon and Kenora, the group traveled to perform concerts in Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1975, the group grew to include a small dance troupe and the polka band About Five. Turning to Dr. Macenko for inspiration to reflect this growth, the group was re-named Hoosli. In the spring of 1976, Hoosli released its first album and toured Saskatchewan and California. Hoosli made its first television appearance in the late 1970’s as part of CBC’s “Feast of Koliada”.